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Burden of Proof on Bears

Yesterday’s market action did not give a clear cut indication of  UP or DOWN over the near-to-intermediate term,  but it favored the bulls by a hair.    A second Fed

Yesterday’s market action did not give a clear cut indication of  UP or DOWN over the near-to-intermediate term,  but it favored the bulls by a hair.

   A second Fed taper doesn’t appear to be an issue, the economic recovery is tracking positive, and international economies are stabilizing.

   That leaves Q4 earnings and  revisions that result for the rest of 2014, as well as the “technical” picture as  swing factors for the direction of stock prices.

    After a 177%  bull market rise in the S&P 500 and 29% rise in 2013 alone, is this market  at risk, or just pausing pursuant to another leg up ?

The risk of a Q1 correction is still there, as explained below, but the burden of proof is now on the bears. 

   One industry that must be watched closely is the housing industry. Housing Starts for December were reported this morning. Starts were down 9.8% vs a gain of 23.1% in November. 

   It was hoped  that a 12% jump in  the Mortgage Bankers’ Applications for the week ended Jan. 10 was a good omen, but MBA apps reported this morning for  the week ended Jan. 17 dropped 4.0%. The average rate for conforming 30-year mortgages ($417,500 or less) dropped 9 basis points to 4.57% – a positive.


Odds favor a spike up today with Resistance starting at  DJIA 16,498 (S&P 500: 1,854). Nasdaq Comp. and Russell 2000 especially upbeat.

Investor’s first reada daily edge before the open

DJIA: 16,414

S&P 500:   1,843

Nasdaq  Comp. 4,225

Russell 2000: 1,175

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014   9:15 a.m.



Best Six Months to own stocks:

Over the years the Stock Trader’s Almanac* has expounded on its significant finding that the stock market performs better  between November 1 and May 1 than between May 1 and November 1.

   The Almanac’s  “Best Six” goes back to 1950.  The six months is a snapshot between November and May.  Many major market advances often start before November, but the point made  here is the period between fall and May is where the action is.

 Is this going to be another “BEST six months to own stocks ?

The six months between November 1 and May 1, have consistently outperformed the six months between May 1 and November 1.*

   With a 7.3% rise in the DJIA since October 31, the Street is now wondering if the market is off to yet another “Best Six Months.” Out of the last 25 years, Nov.1 to May 1, have produced 19 up-years, 3 flats and 3 downers. The best years averaged gains of 11.8% with the best up 25.6% (1998 – 1999).

   THE DANGER:  over the last 25 years, there have been 14 corrections ranging between 6% and  16% during this November1  to May1 period. Seven of those started in January, two in December and four in February.


   The following are based on technical analysis only and  are not to be taken as buy or sell recommendations, but as one of many factors that must be considered in the decision process. Comments do not take into consideration earnings reports, or changes in institutional ratings, company guidance. Technical analysis is based on one’s interpretation of  the impact buying and selling have on the price of a stock and is therefore not an exact science. News and events can change an interpretation instantly. 

Apple (AAPL: $549.07) Positive

Nice reversal Tuesday. Support now$546, resistance – $556 – $560.

Facebook (FB:$58.51) Positive

Three day correction reversed sharply  Tuesday.  New high  $58.96 possible. Support now $57.80

IBM (IBM:$188.43)   Positive

Reversal Tuesday on high volume  followed disappointing earnings.  Support $185.70. Resistance $190.

Pulte Homes (PHM: $19.20)  Positive 

Probing for support above $19.00. Resistance following stock down – now $19.50.

First Solar (FSLR:$51.81)  Negative

 Goldman Sachs really skewered this one when it  downgraded it to a sell from  a buy.   May be forming double bottom above $50. A push above $54 would improve its technical  pattern.

 Nike (NKE:$73.75)   Negative –

Technical pattern getting uglier. Was up slightly Tuesday on a sharp increase in volume.  Must hold $73.30.  Resistance is $75.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ:$29.90)  Positive

Closed near its high Tuesday, but volume was light. Support is $29.10,

resistance – $30.

Polaris Inds. (PII:$135.92)  Positive/Neutral 

Stock has returned to October – December support. Must find a buyer here. Resistance is formidable at $138.

Amazon (AMZN: $407.05) Positive

Finally broke out of $390 – $405 trading range to hit new high at $40.80.  Support is $405.

Pandora Media (P:$35.01) Positive.

Sellers  in the $36 area may cause Pandora to slip to $33.60.


The following is a “Technical” alert list, stocks that have indicated an improved technical pattern.  I will not follow up in detail like the stocks above. These are not buys or sells, but simply alerts that their  technical pattern is improving. Normal intraday fluctuations can  offer a lower price than that listed here. Positive patterns can be interrupted by corrections.

   Warning: An improving technical pattern can be reversed instantly by negative commentary from the Street, broker downgrades, etc. These are “snapshots” at a given time. Good timing can target pinpoint lower prices in some cases. Most stocks are technically attractive because they sketched out a positive upbeat pattern. Some will be because they are showing signs of rebounding from a depressed condition. If after additional due diligence you decide to buy any of these stocks, always protect yourself with a stop sell.  NOTE: Yesterday, I have noted price levels where I thought these stocks should encounter buying (support).  But the intensity of the weakness in the overall market can take them much lower.  While lower prices can make  a stock more attractive, a decline can be a way station en route to yet lower prices, especially if the overall market is in a tailspin. A break below these support levels can eliminate a stock from this list.

Then too, delisting can occur if a stock becomes fully priced or its technical pattern deteriorates.


Align Technologies (ALGN:$62.67)  Listed here (12/23) at $57.03. Due to a one-day reversal  Tuesday with resistance now at $64, ALGN is no longer technically attractive.

Gentex (GNTX: $33.87)   Listed here (12/23) at $32.64. Support: $33.60

Netease (NTES: $80.73)  Listed here (12/23) at $74.51. Reversed after hitting 52-week high $84.35. Support: $80

Spirit Airlines (SAVE: $49.99)  Listed here (12/23) at $46.06.  Support: $48.40

Valeant Pharm. (VRX: $136.88)Listed here (12/23)  at $112. No longer technically attractive after a big run up.

Dycom (DY:$29.24)  Listed here (12/23) at $28.05.  Support: $28.80

Cognex (CGNX: $38.14)Listed here (12/23) at $36.09. Support $37.80

Salex Pharm. (SLXP: $100.05)  Listed here (12/23) at $87.61. Odds are it can run further, but  unattractive due to big run up.

Natus Medical (BABY:$25.70) Listed here (12/24) at $22.80. Support: $25.70

Sierra Wireless (SWIR:$22.18) Listed (12/24) at $22.33.  Support:  $22

RPM Int’l ($42.46)  Listed here (1/13/14) at $43.09. Technical pattern weakened Friday and Tuesday. No longer attractive.

Silicom Ltd (SILC:$46.85)  Listed here (1/13/14) at $46.44.  Dropping after inability Tuesday to top Friday close

Bitauto (BITA: $37.81)  Listed here (1/13/14) at  $36.44.  Support: $37.40

Avery (AVY: $51.31)  Listed here  (1/13/14) at $50.88.  Support: $51.20

Alexion Pharm.(ALXN: 142l56) Listed here (1/13/14)  at $135.21.Support: $141.30



While the number of economic reports is light, there are  several key ones, especially  those for housing on Thursday

For detailed analysis of both the U.S. and Foreign economies along with charts, go Also included is an explanation of each indicator. If you want to know when the next Employment report or any other key report will be released that info is also there under “event release date.



ICSC Goldman Store Sales (7:45)


Jobless Claims (8:30)   Proj: Up 4,000 for week 1/18

PMI Mfg. Ix. (8:58)   Proj: January index 55 vs. 55 Dec.

Existing Home Sales (10:00) Proj: Dec 4.900 million rate vs  unch from December.  Year-on-year was a minus 1.2 pct.

FHFA House Price Ix. (10:00 Proj:  Nov. +0.4 pct. vs a +0.5 pct. Oct.

Leading Indicators (10:00) Proj: Dec. +0.1 vs. +0.8 pct. Nov.


Dec 26  DJIA 16,357  Year End Opportunities

Dec 27  DJIA 16,479  January 2014 Profit-Taking Will Hit Certain Stocks

Dec 30  DJIA  16,478 Be Prepared to Take Advantage of  5% January Correction

Dec 31  DJIA 16,504  Forecast: Get Ready for a Wild Ride !


Jan 2     DJIA 16,504  A Raging Bull, but Corrections Offer Opportunities

Jan 3     DJIA 16,441  More Downside in the Market ?

Jan 6     DJIA 16,469  Correction or New Up-Leg ?

Jan 7     DJIA 16,425  Market at Key Crossroad

Jan 8     DJIA 16,530  Market at Key Crossroad

Jan 9     DJIA 16,462  Bull/Bear Battle Continues – Toss Up, but…

Jan 10   DJIA 16,444  Stocks: Sharp Run Up, Or Down in January ?

Jan 13   DJIA 16,437 What’s Needed to Trigger a Surge or Slide in Stocks

Jan 14   DJIA 16,237 How Ugly Can This Correction Get ?

Jan 15   DJIA 16,373 Correction ? Not So Fast, Says Nasdaq

Jan 16   DJIA 16,481 Stock Pickers’ Market – Rewards, Risks

Jan 17  DJIA  16,417 Stock Pickers’ Markey – Where to Look

Jan 21  DJIA  16,458 Key Day in the Market – and Why

  George  Brooks

“Investor’s first read – an edge before the open”

[email protected]

The writer of  Investor’s first read, George Brooks,  is not registered as an investment advisor.  Ideas expressed herein are the opinions of the writer, are for informational purposes, and are not to serve as the sole basis for any investment decision. Readers are expected to assume full responsibility for conducting their own research pursuant to investment decisions in keeping with their tolerance for risk. Brooks may buy or sell stocks referred to herein.











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